How does the vastness of the universe make you feel?

Response to a Quora Question


Anil Mitra

Link to my Website


The QuestionAs a rational mind how do you feel about the huge size of the universe and the great amounts of emptiness observed.

When I was a child, my universe was my family and home, the town, and the world of nature—the forests just beyond.

The universe revealed by science was awe inspiring just as the forests and hills beyond my home town were.

In time the universe of science lost some of its mystique. The world of nature did not. So when I think of the larger universe as continuous with my natural world, the mystique returns. Especially when I reflect that science sees it as a material universe, yet it is a world in which there is nature, and beings that think and feel and hope.

It seems weird that there is my thinking, my feeling, my hope which is my personal universe and my image of the universe (it contains your thoughts and the mountains and stars, which, of course, I experience as real)—but that it all began when I was born and might all come to an end when I die.

Some of our attitudes are that the universe of science is essentially the one universe. Yet, that requires us to project our experience, from which science is derived, beyond the observed. It may be so, but not necessarily. Therefore, to insist on the projection is a mistake. The logically possible universe is much greater than the observed. Huge as the observed universe seems, it is infinitesimal to what is logically possible.

The logically possible universe would not only be limitlessly greater than the observed, it would be one in which Nietzsche’s myth of the eternal return is true—but not boringly so; there would be endless variations to the return, keeping experience ever fresh and exciting (and there would of course be no escape from the negative).

All that is an exciting possibility.

What part of it is true?